Malaysia test for Singapore squash
Singapore enjoyed a strong start in squash at the SEA Games last night, with Mao Shi Yuan through to the women's semi-finals while Bryan Koh and Samuel Kang advanced to the men's last four
All three players easily won in the quarter-finals, but face a huge task today to make the final.
Malaysia, one of the world's top squash nations, have brought a young team across the Causeway but still have designs on a clutch of golds.
And each Singaporean will take on a Malaysian player today in the semi-finals at the Kallang Squash Centre.
Singapore's Bryan Koh, who is an undergraduate at Harvard, and plays for the college team, will take on Malaysia's Addeen Bahtiar, while Samuel Kang will play Sanjay Chal.
Mao will face Rachel Arnold of Malaysia in one women's semi-final, while Malaysian Vanessa Raj Gnanasigamani will face off against the Philippines' Jemyca Aribado in the other encounter.
Malaysia are without world No. 1 women's player Nicol David, but are gunning for a clean sweep of golds.
Singapore coach Peter Genever said: "The SEA Games is an opportunity to give exposure to some of our lower-ranked players.
"It's a stepping-stone to the Asian Games, so that's why we brought a younger side.
"They need to learn what its like to play in a bigger tournament".
But the team are formidable, with Vanessa, just 19, already ranked 59th in the world, after winning the Asian Junior Under-19 Championships last year.
Genever is confident about his team's chances.
"The guys have trained well and had a good preparation with two tournaments to warm up for this."
Koh hopes the home crowd will lift his, and his teammates' spirits for their tough task.
"The crowd has definitely helped," the 22-year-old said. "It's not always that you have 99 per cent of them (the audience) on your side, so it has been something very special.
"Every point that I have won, the Singapore crowd cheered for me.
"It was a boost, especially with my family, friends, and even extended family here."